4 out of 4 stars
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Darkshine is the first book in The Darkshine Series by R. D. Vallier, and for those who enjoy fantasy fiction, it is well worth a read.
Miriam has never felt like she has been able to fit in anywhere in her life. Not with her mother, at school, her job and definitely not with her bullying and insulting husband, Sam. When Miriam learns suddenly of a hidden secret concerning Sam, her life gets turned completely upside down. In running away from her husband, she finds herself thrown into a world, not only where magic exists, but where she is a pivotal part of it.
In her discovery, she is aided by two representatives from the warring magical factions, Orin and Delano. The more she learns from the both of them, the harder she finds it to decide who is actually telling the truth. When her own survival depends on the right decision, she must choose whose side she is really on.
This was a beautifully written story that drew me in right from the first page. Written in first person from Miriam’s perspective, the reader is able to learn along with her as she discovers the magic in the world around her, as well as hidden strengths in herself.
I did find Miriam’s character a little frustrating at first in her total lack of confidence to stand up to Sam, but it does portray the unfortunate truth about an abusive relationship. In spite of my frustration, this did help make Miriam’s character more realistic. The secondary characters of Orin and Delano were very well written, with the reader doubting about which one to trust right up until the last moment. Sam’s character was also portrayed well, as the reader immediately feels an enormous dislike towards him and his selfish, hurtful ways.
Set in the United States, there is a good balance between fantasy and reality as Miriam learns about the magic all around her, hiding in plain sight. This is an aspect of the book which I really liked, as it would be nice to believe that magic is around us every day, just not letting itself be seen. Also the fast paced writing style certainly helped to keep this book a gripping read. This story has action, violence, deceit, potential love interests, adventure, as well as talking animals. What more could a reader ask for?
As can be predicted from this review, I loved this book and therefore give it 4 out of 4 stars. I really enjoyed the mix of everyday reality and magic, without it becoming too extreme and unbelievable. Although this book is meant to be the start of a series, the ending doesn’t finish on a cliff hanger, which I personally preferred. There is certainly room for this story to grow with more books, but the ending here doesn’t leave the reader feeling unfulfilled. I would recommend this book to anyone at all, but especially to those who like magic. It’s an easy read, whether you’re a fan of fantasy or not, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
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